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AFL’s giant backflip on finals rumour

The AFL has confirmed the fixture for week one of this season’s finals series.— Thursday October 1: Port Adelaide (1) vs Geelong (4) at Adelaide Oval, 7:40pm (first qualifying final)— Friday October 2: Brisbane (2) vs Richmond (3) at The Gabba, 7.50pm (second qualifying final)— Saturday October 3: St Kilda (6) vs Western Bulldogs (7)…

The AFL has confirmed the fixture for week one of this season’s finals series.

Thursday October 1: Port Adelaide (1) vs Geelong (4) at Adelaide Oval, 7:40pm (first qualifying final)

Friday October 2: Brisbane (2) vs Richmond (3) at The Gabba, 7.50pm (second qualifying final)

Saturday October 3: St Kilda (6) vs Western Bulldogs (7) at The Gabba, 4.40pm (second elimination final)

Saturday October 3: West Coast (5) vs Collingwood (8) at Optus Stadium, 8.10pm (first elimination final)

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The AFL was reportedly forced to delay its official finals series fixture announcement on Monday after suggestions it was going to snub St Kilda.

Leaked details surrounding the make-up of the 2020 finals series showed the league was set to ignore St Kilda’s request to play a “home” elimination final in Queensland, and force it to play the Western Bulldogs in Adelaide.

However, despite reports the Saints’ request would be rejected and they’d be made to play in the City of Churches, the AFL had a change of heart and its official fixture announcement on Tuesday afternoon confirmed St Kilda will get its wish to play in Queensland.

Saints CEO Matt Finnis was thrilled the team would play in Brisbane rather than Adelaide.

“We have played a lot footy at The Gabba this season and, given where we are currently based in Noosa, it was certainly our preference,” Finnis said in a statement.

“Saying that, we were prepared to play wherever the game was fixtured and I know internally with the discussions I have had with players and coaches, that was certainly the mindset of the group.

“Our Queensland members have been in full voice all year and were particularly vocal during Friday night’s win over the Giants.

“They will be really pleased to see the game scheduled at The Gabba and I know they will represent our members all over Australia well on Saturday evening.”

Port Adelaide’s win over Collingwood on Monday night relegated the Magpies to eighth spot on the ladder — and gives them a daunting assignment of travelling to Perth to play West Coast in the first week of the finals.

The result also bumped Brisbane from top spot and sets up a qualifying final between the Lions and Richmond at the Gabba.

The Power will open the finals against Geelong in Adelaide while the Saints face the Dogs in Brisbane.

The loser of the Port Adelaide vs Cats game will face the winner of West Coast vs Collingwood in week two of the finals, while the loser of Brisbane vs Richmond will take on the winner out of St Kilda and the Bulldogs.

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